I was not afraid to stand out, says Vogue featured artist Olga Kamenetskaya

When she said ‘Yes’ for an interview, it was nothing short of a splendid opportunity for me to dwell into the world of this Kiev-based artist, Olga Kamenetskaya, who gets unapologetically real and exceptionally intricate in every piece of art she creates. Her collection of one-of-a-kind (OOAK) dolls redefines beauty and represents a rare combination of being vulnerable and fierce at the same time. Never afraid to stand out herself, she refashions her dolls in a similar manner. Her work has got featured in several prestigious platforms and she has also created miniature versions of several Hollywood celebrities.

I am extremely excited and proud to interview Olga for my platform Real Life Heroes -By Manvi.

Manvi: You recreate dolls into realistic figurines. Tell us more about your work? Where did the inspiration come from?

Olga: As an adult, I started collecting Mattel’s Monster High dolls. And after six months, I decided to redraw one. Like most beginners, I started drawing with watercolour pencils and only after a couple of years, I switched to brushes and paints. The primary materials that I use in my work are acrylic and watercolour paints, dry pastel, acrylic clear coat and, eye shadow. I love makeup! I have a lot of it, and in addition to its direct appointment, I found it extremely useful in my work. After the face painting finishes, the makeup gets fixed with acrylic clear coat. It becomes resistant to rinsing with water. As for wigs, my favourite materials are natural silk and goat wool. I put all this in an iron pot and cook for a long time, and then I say magic words and the doll is ready!

At the very beginning of my work with dolls, I found a regular customer who used to send me photos of real people as references. I tried to fulfil the order as accurately as possible, and without even noticing myself, I became a master in portrait dolls. But not all my dolls are portraits. A lot of them are just the result of my imagination, but I still realistically execute them.

Before and After Images of a Doll

[P.C. Olga Kamenetskaya]

Manvi: Have any of your experiences in the past influenced you to pursue this art form?

Olga: In my childhood, I was very fond of drawing. Even in kindergarten, I remember a line of my friends asking me to draw a ballet dancer or a mermaid for them. And in the primary school ballerinas and mermaids were still in the trend. I was one of the best at drawing lessons, but I always liked to repeat drawings more than include imagination. Maybe then I did not have enough vision. I remember how often I looked at a white sheet of paper and did not dare touch it with a pencil, just because I had no idea what to draw. In high school, I left drawing, but I found a new interest in sewing. My mother was a seamstress, and she taught my sister and me her craft when we were young.

Interest in fashion awoke with enthusiasm for sewing. I bought glossy magazines, picked out the clothes I liked and asked my mother to sew me something I couldn’t sew myself. I was not afraid to stand out (on the contrary I liked it), so sometimes my images were very eccentric. But for sure I’ve never been within faceless mass!

Manvi: Do you agree that social pressures drain us of our natural energy and compel us to follow suit?

Olga: Of course, the influence of society has enormous pressure on a person. But I believe that the origins of such compliance with the power of the opinions of others come from the depths of upbringing. If parents do not instil love in a child from birth and endlessly cite someone else as an example, then the person will always look for an idol.

Miniature of Emma Watson_1

[P.C. Olga Kamenetskaya]

Manvi: How do you define art? And, what according to you makes it inevitable?

Olga: In the modern world, the concept of art has become broader and many-sided. I think this trend will continue to grow more comprehensive in the future. Art is a form of expression. It is not always encouraging and inspiring every viewer, but its essence is to reflect the author’s experiences. Thus, the author throws out his emotions, thoughts, ideas, hopes into something material and has the opportunity to look at himself from the outside. First of all, it is essential for the creator himself, and only then does it have any involvement with the viewer. Therefore, art does not always find an admirer and appreciation.

Manvi: As an artist, do you ever critically examine your work?

Olga: I always look at my work very critically. Always! The inability to be one hundred percent satisfied with my work is a pain point for me. I keep thinking that it was possible to do better. This is a problem with all perfectionists. But maybe the fact is that I have not reached my limit and I feel that I can do much better.

Let’s get to know her otherwise –

Manvi: What does a typical day in your like look like?

Olga: For the past year and a half, my routine has been somewhat monotonous. And such state of affairs more than once led me to a loss of inspiration.

The morning begins with child care (hygiene, breakfast), then we go for a walk. Then lunch and nap. While the children are sleeping, I sit down at work and, as a rule, do not come off until late at night.

Manvi: Do you have a favorite childhood memory that you would like to share with us?

Olga: Probably, the happiest childhood memories are those with the whole family travelling to Sochi in the summer. I was about 3-5 years old then. I do not remember absolutely everything. However, I remember very well the hot pebbles heated by the sun and how hot they were to my feet when I walked barefoot along the embankment with my parents. They bought me Pepsi and an ice-cream. Even today, the taste of Pepsi brings me back to childhood. And the most delicious peaches and plums that I ate were also then.

Manvi: What is your favorite cuisine?

Olga: Perhaps the Mediterranean and the Asian. I do not eat meat, so I prefer dishes with fish and seafood. Well, cheesecake is my favourite dessert.


(Exclusive for Real Life Heroes – By Manvi)

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